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Priest who heads top clergy treatment center accused of impropriety

Saint Luke Institute logo

Saint Luke Institute logo

(RNS) The priest who headed a leading treatment center for clergy suffering from emotional, sexual and addiction problems has resigned in the wake of accusations that he misused funds in his home diocese and that he was engaged in an “inappropriate adult relationship.”

Saint Luke Institute, located just outside Washington, said Monday that Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault had resigned as president and CEO of the center.

Over the past two decades, the institute became well known for treating priests who had sexually abused children. The center deals primarily with priests, nuns and brothers who have a range of other issues, such as depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors.

Arsenault took over at Saint Luke’s in 2009 after a decade as a senior official in the Diocese of Manchester, which covers the state of New Hampshire.

Arsenault's sudden departure came as the diocese – which is still responsible for guaranteeing his bona fides as a priest – announced that earlier this year it had received allegations of “a potentially inappropriate adult relationship” involving Arsenault. It said that a further investigation “discovered evidence suggesting improper financial transactions by Msgr. Arsenault involving diocesan funds.”

Because the financial allegations are potentially criminal, the diocese reported them to the state attorney general's office, which has opened its own investigation.

The diocese said Arsenault has been suspended from public ministry but provided no further details on the allegations.

“I am committed to reviewing our internal diocesan operations to ensure that any issues are identified and corrected, as necessary,” Manchester Bishop Peter A. Libasci said in a statement on Monday. “We will do this in the light of day. In the meantime, we will be cooperating fully with the Attorney General's investigation.”

The Saint Luke Institute, based in Silver Spring, Md., said in a statement that the investigations do not involve Saint Luke Institute.

It said that the previous head of Saint Luke’s, Monsignor Stephen J. Rossetti, would serve as interim president; Sheila Harron, who has been on staff for 18 years, will be the interim CEO.

“This is very difficult news, and we are keeping this situation in prayer,” Harron said. “Saint Luke Institute has been in the process of expanding education and services nationally. We are committed to continuing to move forward, to providing high quality care for priests and religious, and to supporting a culture of healthy ministry in the Church.”


  1. And to think one of the message points used against those that message for the recovery from childhood sexual abuse by clerics is “it’s all about money’ — now we see that message does have a place to land. It’s at the feet of those supposedly tickling the abusive clerics.

  2. Although this is not surprising it is very disturbing news, especially since the St. Luke Institute in Maryland is where many child predators were sent for treatment by church officials when they would get a complaint of abuse.

    We hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have suffered misdeeds by Msgr Edward J. Arsenault, will contact law enforcement, help to expose the truth, start to heal, and therefore protect others.
    Child sex abuse thrives in secrecy and secret systems that allow it to continue to this day, Children are safest when predators and those who enable and conceal their crimes are held accountable.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. [email protected],
    “SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  3. Maybe Arsenault will be joining ex-Father Gordon MacRae in the New Hampshire State Prison soon? Wouldn’t that be a twist of fate? Arsenault assisted the Diocese in going after MacRae in its prosecution while MacRae has been been trying to prove that he is innocent and has won the support of many credible people including the late Avery Cardinal Dulless and the Innocence Project. It would be very strange to have two priests from the same Diocese in the same prison.

  4. If its sex with an ADULT woman, or he stole money, he’ll get kicked out.

    If he raped children, Bishop McCormick would make sure that he was protected and given a full paid retirement.

  5. No one has said anything about child abuse, kids or victims so you seem really, really off base. Some advice for you: be honest and people will listen. Play games like this and you lose credibility.

  6. You’re a tad behind the times, Neil. McCormack (correct spelling) hasn’t been in the chancery for a number of months. He stepped down when he reached 75. The new bishop is honest and will entertain none of the nonsense that went on in NH back when Arsenault worked at the chancery.

  7. It is my past understanding that the “treatment” center in fact was nothing more than a homosexual spa for priests. The article does not identify the gender of Arsenault’s playmate. My money is on male.

  8. The new Bishop is honest? Really?

    Then if he is so honest, how come he is fighting us priest abuse victims and getting our cases dismissed using the old tried and true tactics of falling onto the statue of limitations?

    We have overwhelming proof that Father Leon Gaulin raped me at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH in or about March 1975. When the investigator confronted Gaulin, whom left the priesthood under real shady circumstances, not two days later Gaulin disconnected all his phones and went into hiding. How many innocent people go into hiding if they are not guilty?

    Nope the churches lawyers called me a liar. They said nope you got the color of the tile wrong so that makes you a liar.

    I had run away from an abusive foster home. I was scared outta my wits, a priest just raped me and I am supposed to remember with vivid detail the color of the tiles of the church?

    Because when I ran away from the foster home a police officer brought me to the church under the direction of my social services worker. Because I believed it was a Somersworth police officer whom brought me there…but it was in fact a State Trooper…that also makes me a liar.

    Because my social services records were destroyed decades ago and we cannot show by the records that I was put in St Thomas More for the night, and that even though my social services worker states this would be a normal thing, that if there were no place to stay for the night for a run away, they would bring us to St Thomas More for safekeeping for the night. But because of all of this the Diocese of Manchester, Bishop Libasci and their lawyer all deem me a liar.

    Because the one friend I did tell.,,in a total maybe twenty second conversation we had almost 34 years ago and he cannot remember the conversation due to his drug addled brain and time passage…that makes me a liar.

    So to say that Bishop Libasci and the Diocese of Manchester NH is working to help us…yeah right…keep dreaming. They are doing to us victims what they always do…deny it happened to us, call us liars and say hey we signed the Pledge to Protect and Promise to Heal charter…we just feel we are above the law in regards to keeping it and what are you gonna do about it? Sue us?

  9. If he is so innocent….why is he still in prison?

    This is the same tactic the RCC uses against all victims. We are liars. We are spreading false rumors against the church. We are gold diggers looking for a payday.

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan and his mouthpiece he pays for, Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League for the Protection and Defense of the Roman Catholic Churches pedophiles says this against us victims of priest rape all the time.

    The added new twist is now…because we did not punch our offending priest in the face when they were raping us…that means we not only wanted to be raped, we enjoyed it and we are homosexuals for it.

    MacRae belongs in prison. Too bad the boys in Concord did not give him his just desserts in the shower.

  10. We have to keep reminding you people….that you worship with Pedophile Pimp Leaders whom you hold in higher esteem than you do your Jesus Christ you profess to follow.

    Let me ask you this Eileen…whom do you think Jesus Christ will stand up for? Did not Jesus say…it would be better for you to tie a huge boulder around your neck than to harm a single hair on the head of a child?

    Are you one of those Roman Catholics whom believe that your leaders, your Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom moved these perverted, pedophile priests around….should never be prosecuted for their crimes simply because they are leaders of the RCC and therefor should be considered above the law?

    You follow a bunch of Pedophile Pimps and Perverts, you place them above the victims whom were raped and abused…so when you lay down with dogs….just realize their fleas are now your fleas.

    Unless you stand up and demand each and every one of these leaders be arrested and tried…then you stand with them and against those of us whom were raped and abused by these religious freaks.

  11. I cannot understand why priests who behave in an unacceptable manner (especially those who sexually abuse minors) are not defrocked and sent on their merry way. I’d rather go to Mass once a month(for lack of priests) than to have thousands of priests who, by their behaviour , do not deserve the title of priest/shepherd. Get rid of the Bishops too who cover up for these evil men by simply moving them to other parishes.

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